BY JIM KOURI
A homegrown Islamic terrorist who confessed to planning to crash model airplanes carrying explosives into federal buildings including the Pentagon was sentenced on Thursday to 17 years in prison in Boston, Massachusetts, according to the FBI.
Rezwan Ferdaus planned to use rigged cellphones to detonate the improvised devices to bomb the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. His plea bargain with prosecutors helped him to avoid a much lengthier sentence.
The 27-year-old Ferdaus was arrested back in February near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., as part of an undercover investigation by the FBI.
Ferdaus, a man of Moroccan descent who grew up in Massachusetts, was planning a suicide attack on the Capitol with explosives he received from undercover officers, whom he thought were associates of al-Qaeda. He also planned to deliver bomb-making materials for use in attacks against U.S. troops during the Iraq conflict.
Beginning in January 2011, Ferdaus began designing and constructing detonation components for improvised explosive devices (IED) using mobile phones. Ferdaus supplied 12 mobile phones, which he modified to act as an electrical switch for an IED, to FBI undercover employees (UCEs), whom he believed were members of al-Qaeda, with the intention that they be used to kill American and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan or other locations overseas.
In June 2011, Ferdaus delivered his first mobile phone detonation device to the UCEs. At a subsequent meeting, the UCEs falsely told Ferdaus that his first phone detonation device had succeeded in killing three U.S. soldiers and injuring others in Iraq. Ferdaus responded, “That was exactly what I wanted” and that he felt “incredible….We’re changing the world.” He also suggested that he could make “20 to 30 [detonation components] per week” to send to his “brothers overseas.”
He told the UCEs that he was “100 percent” at “peace” with the fact that his devices “are killing American soldiers” and was “so happy to hear that and so thankful.” After each subsequent delivery to the UCEs, Ferdaus asked how each detonation device had worked and how many Americans had reportedly been killed. Ferdaus also made a 20-minute training video, which was recorded by the UCEs, giving instructions on how to make cell phone detonators. Ferdaus believed that the video would be used for training members of al-Qaeda.
Ferdaus also planned to obtain a remote-controlled aircraft similar to a small drone aircraft, fill it with grenades, and fly the plane into the Pentagon using a built-in GPS system. Ferdaus told the UCEs that he conducted Internet research on remote-controlled aircraft and found a web site that sells such airplanes, which can fly 100 mph.
According to the prosecutor, in May and June 2011, Ferdaus provided two very detailed attack plans to the UCEs. The defendant’s first attack plan, among other things, contained photographs of the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol with superimposed arrows, showing where he intended to strike. The defendant stated that his plan “ought to terrorize…it ought to result in the downfall of this entire disgusting place. That is my goal.”
The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Jim Kouri, CPP, is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Contact Jim.